Lockheed Martin Titan IVB Rocket

The Titan IVB was the U.S. Air Force’s largest and most powerful expendable single-use rocket. It was a space launch vehicle used to place satellites into orbit. Titan IVB rockets boosted payloads into low earth orbit, polar orbit, or geosynchronous (stationary) orbit from either Cape Canaveral, Fla., or Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Although the Titan IVB was not a missile (a weapon), it was developed from a long line of missiles and launch vehicles based on the original Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). First launched in 1959, the Titan family of boosters served for nearly 50 years putting satellites and astronauts into orbit. Titan IVB flew from 1997 to 2005 with all 17 of its launches successful.

Titan IVB rockets carried several notable payloads, including classified National Reconnaissance Office satellites, early warning satellites and meteorological satellites. In 1997 a Titan IVB also launched NASA’s Cassini-Huygens spacecraft to study Saturn and its moon Titan.

The front end of the rocket is the payload fairing. It protected satellites on the way through the atmosphere to orbit, then broke away to release the payload. Fairings varied in length according to the size of the satellite. The rocket on display has an 86-foot fairing, the longest one used. Titan IVB payloads could be as heavy as 23.9 tons, about the size and weight of a large tour bus.

204 feet

Weight: 2.2 million lbs. maximum liftoff weight
Lift capability: 47,800 lbs. (low-earth orbit), 12,700 lbs. (geosynchronous orbit using Centaur Upper Stage), 38,800 lbs. (low-earth polar orbit), 5,250 lbs. (geosynchronous orbit using Inertial Upper Stage)
Engines: Two-stage liquid-fuel core vehicle with two solid rocket boosters. Stage 1, LR87 engine of 548,000 lbs. thrust; stage 2, LR91 engine of 105,000 lbs. thrust. Two solid rocket motors of 1.5 million lbs. thrust each.

Click here to return to the Space Gallery.

Find Out More
Related Fact Sheets
Martin Marietta SM-68A/HGM-25A Titan I
Martin Marietta SM-68B/LGM-25C Titan II
Titan IVB Payload Fairing Assembly (00:05:51)
Titan IVB Time-Lapse of Lift (00:04:06)
Titan IVB Feature (00:07:57)